‘The day I met Dixie changed my life’ | TeamDogs

‘The day I met Dixie changed my life’

How borrowing a German Shepherd has prepared this animal lover for her own dog

Danielle Elton

Posted 4 months ago ago

While we’re all huge animal lovers, sometimes circumstances can mean it’s just not the right time for a dog.

Your home might not be big enough, long hours at work might mean you can’t be around enough, or you just can’t afford the financial responsibility of owning a dog.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a huge dog-shaped hole in your life.

Or maybe you want a taste of what owning a dog is like before taking on such a big commitment.

One person who knows how that feels is dog lover Katie.

She admits to wanting a dog, but her current living situation and work commitments mean it’s not doable.

That’s why she and her partner signed up to BorrowMyDoggy - a website that connects dog owners with local people who would love to look after their dog. 

Whether that’s walkies, overnight stays, playtime or holidays, it gives dogs more exercise and those without a dog the chance to spend precious time with one - it’s a win-win!

Katie and her partner were matched with two dogs on the site and regularly take Peppa, a Miniature Poodle, and Dixie, a German Shepherd, out for walks.

The experience has been good practice for when Katie and her partner are in a position to care for their dog.

Katie said: “BorrowMyDoggy has allowed me to spend time with dogs and learn about what it’s like to have one.

“I’ve been part of the community for about a year and I feel prepared to get my own dog.”

Katie added: “I never had a dog growing up, but I always had cats. My boyfriend had dogs so I have lived with people who had dogs. 

“I feel ready for the responsibility of a dog now and I like that stability. I do love cats, but there’s something special about dogs - they’re your best mate!”

The couple first started walking Dixie - Katie’s next-door neighbour’s granddaughter’s dog. And while initially daunted by her size, it was love at first sight with the pair even having taken her on holiday with them.

“The day I met Dixie changed my life. We walked her on New Year’s Day and from there I started walking her during the week when her owner was at work,” said Katie.

“I’m doing a PHD so I can walk her and have her with me at home. She’s really easy going and I love her so much. We took her to the Lake District last weekend and it added an extra dimension to our holiday.”

Katie also added: “With Dixie, I was initially reluctant as she is a very big dog, but when I met her I fell in love. 

“She just lay on her back and wanted tummy tickles! She is so sweet and gentle - I was bowled over! 

“We took her walking, which was challenging at first as she was pulling strongly on the lead, but now she walks nicely.”

For those considering borrowing a dog, or owners wanting to share their dog with other animal lovers, Katie stresses the importance of building trust.

She said: “My advice would be to get to know the person, be comfortable with them and think about what time you can offer them realistically. 

“There has to be an element of building up trust. 

“I used to be a primary school teacher, so if people trust me with a child then I hope they would trust me with a dog. 

“Owners need to know that you are responsible so you have to be willing to spend time with them and make sure you use the same training methods as they do.”

Thinking of giving it a go yourself?

Katie added: “Borrowing dogs has changed my life and taught me skills that will make me a responsible dog owner.”

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